On Friday 21st October a botnet of hacked Internet or Things devices launched a massive DDoS attack on a DNS service provider causing major disruption to services like PayPal, Twitter and Netflix. To many security experts familiar with IoT it was only matter of time before this would happen. Assuming that this will act as a wakeup call, what can be done to improve IoT cybersecurity?
Have you ever actually read the terms and conditions before signing up to a website or ordering something online? These long, wordy documents are a form of consumer protection designed to make sure we are fully informed when we agree to an online contract. They are supposed to ensure we are making a conscious decision to sign up to a service with full knowledge of the consequences.
Starting some time in the middle of last week, much of the social media related news coverage has been dominated by the so called ‘positivity app’ Peeple that proposes to let people give ratings about other people, and the outright negative response it has elicited in the vast majority of people (including us). Since any such endeavor obviously steps into a massive “ethics minefield”, CaSMa was naturally attracted to looking into this a bit more.
Many of the most well known internet platforms and apps such as Facebook, Wikipedia, Reddit, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, etc. are fundamentally dependent on user generated content. Without it, they have nothing to offer to attract or retain users. On the face of it, this would suggest that the balance of power between the companies running the platforms/apps and the users should skew towards the users.
The history of human experiments often focuses on biomedical research and the gradual changes in acceptable practice and ethical considerations. But another class of human experiments that has had its own share of controversies is the study of human behaviour.
Internet Mediate Human Behaviour Research (IMHBR) is primarily defined by its use of the internet to obtain data about participants. While some of the research involves active participation with research subjects directly engaging with the research, for example through online surveys or experimental tasks, many studies take advantage of “found text” in blogs, discussion forums or other online spaces, analyses of hits on websites, or observation of other types of online activity such as search engine histories or logs of actions in online games.
Professor Angela Sasse and Dr Charlene Jennett, based at the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC), are interested in understanding how people interact with technology and in particular, the use of proximity ‘beacons’. iBeacon is one such indoor proximity system that can trigger actions on smart phones and other devices. This new technology has already been trialled in the retail sector to simplify payments and enable on-site offers and personalised adverts to customers. Whilst seemingly offering consumers a quicker and more streamlined shopping experience, the application of the technology also raises a number of ethical issues that require consideration.